It’s Tradition

“Your dad’s on Hampton Time again,” I muttered to Austyn as we waited for Brett from the car. I honked two quick taps of the horn, convincing myself two quick taps was several notches below the rudeness of a steady honk. Actually, I wasn’t worried about rudeness. I was worried about annoying the neighbors because what I really wanted to do was lay on the horn until Brett walked out, and then I wanted to follow up with a bitchy “What took you so long? We’re going to be late.” But I didn’t.

While we waited, I looked down to study my shoes, a pair I hadn’t worn since my teaching days. “These are ugly,” I thought. “I look like a pilgrim.” For some reason, though, our annual Christmas photo propels me to experiment with forsaken looks in my closet. And new hair styles. Which explains why I felt the need to pull out the Bump-It last night—that T.V. commercial gadget that wedges against your scalp and hikes your hair up all Bridget Bardot.

“I’m hot,” Lainey cried.

“Who said you could wear my shoes?” Austyn snapped at Brandyn.

“Oh my Gosh! Your dress!” In a moment of panic, I lunged to fix the crisp cotton I had ironed an hour earlier that was now folded and crammed beneath Lainey’s car seat straps.

And then Nella reached up and pulled one ponytail out. And I honked again.

This is how it goes every year and honestly, it’s completely ironic in that the annual family Christmas card photo is intended to epitomize all the love and peace-out vibes we cherish and yet, any fragments of Miserable Bitch that secretly dwell within me have a habit of rearing their ugly head come family photo shoot. I have this vision that during one of our normal beautiful family moments, when we’re all lounging around the living room and golden light is streaming through our front windows, a photographer will miraculously knock on our door and ask to take our picture. That’s my dream card—real life, good back light and a whole lot ‘o love. I am magnetically drawn to the charm of candid shots—of mismatched clothes and wrinkled noses, heads tipped in laughter, and the comfort that comes from not realizing there’s a camera in your face. Yet I fall into the trap, every year, of obsessively planning that one perfect shot and doing anything and everything to make sure it happens.

It’s in my blood, though. Both of my grandpas were photographers. In fact, I have an eight-year gallery worth of Cryderman Family Christmas cards framed in my hallway like a shrine, and, no doubt, some of these captured moments included scenes much like ours last night. Except my grandma would never, ever have honked.

Take 1957, for example:


You think my dad didn’t complain about having to wear a suit and bow tie for that shot? You think my Uncle Dale enjoyed “nonchalantly” holding that log over the fire for fifteen minutes until someone wasn’t blinking?

Or try 1955:


As if letter tiles conveniently lined up on the carpet to spell the family name were just an ordinary part of every day.

I’ll let 1948 speak for itself:

That one was not posed. Swear.

One of my favorite Christmas photos from our own family was taken when I was about seven. That oh-this-happens-everyday vibe we were going for? We almost pulled it off. It was brilliant: Christmas tree magically glowing in the background, the perfect colored-light bokeh, kids in pajamas, my dad’s Bible open on his lap with the tiny print of “Luke 2” barely visible from the pages. And our family arranged in a slightly imperfect semicircle around him, our expressions manifesting that we were simply riveted with the story of No Room at the Inn. Except, in the background, you notice someone failed to remember to turn the T.V. off before the camera clicked. The jig is up. We were captivated by MTV, not Luke 2.

Brett made it to the car last night, and the hour that followed was full of wild chaos that included flying rocks (don’t ask), gawking strangers, and commands to “straighten your shirt,” “stop squinting,” and, I’m sorry to say, “God, can’t you stand more natural?” Family Christmas card shoots don’t exactly bring out the best in me, and I’m not proud of it. Brett begged to never wear the jeans I made him wear again (“I can’t breathe!”) and I actually had to cut slits in Austyn’s sleeves to fit his biceps (a fact, I’m sure, he’ll be sharing with as many girls as possible). Although the night might be summarized with the simple phrase “We’ll Photoshop it out,” we did it. With a head swap or two, I can say we got “the shot.”

This morning though, I browsed back through the folder of images from last night, sipping my coffee and making note of the obvious disconnection of this moment, right now, and the forced perfection in our photos. I love them–I do. But, for a second, I had half a notion to ditch them all. To start new this year with effortless candid shots in a card that would represent my favorite moments with our family—the raw and real life ones that aren’t so color coordinated and certainly don’t involve hauling kitchen stools to hotels where we sit in a strategic symmetric huddle and smile. Un-posed is far more us and far more endearing.

But, you know what? This is us too. Once a year.





We’ve been doing this for a long time, and someday we will look back and laugh, retelling stories of cut sleeves and too-tight jeans and the wife who rudely honked in the driveway. Someday, our cards might be framed in grandchildren’s hallways, and they will laugh at our ugly shoes and my Bump-It bouffant and our color coordinates. But they will love them.


Who we really are is made up the well represented moments of imperfection that happen in our home every day—where we don’t stop to smooth out the wrinkles. We’ve captured so many of them.

Nella’s not feeling well today. She doesn’t want to be put down, and she doesn’t want to let go of her tissue.

But that once-a-year occasion where we Photoshop stains and stray hairs and snap at our kids to stop squinting and “act natural”—it’s part of who we are too.

It’s tradition, and I love me some holiday tradition.



Congratulations to winners of the $25 gift certificate, courtesy of The Adorned Adobe:

Comment #178, Michelle: Your photos with quilts get me every time. XOXO, Missy from Indiana

Comment #36, Lovely Love: loved this post! you are too funny! i totally pictured you cartwheeling and dancing in my head lol! the pic of lainey on the beach with her “glass of wine” i loved! she looked so pretty and sophisticated and it gives you a glimpse of the amazing woman she will be one day. i needed this. i had a tough week last week, tough weekend, and today kinda sucked too. thank you :)

Michelle an Lovely Love, please e-mail your contact info to to redeem your gift certificates! Thanks.


This week Dashing Bee joins us as a new sponsor. Dashing Bee provides a great online source where you can shop for inexpensive consignment children’s clothing, gear, toys and more. For anyone who loves shopping consignment, you know how great it is to score unique items that cost you less. I found some great items from Dashing Bee that satisfied my stripe obsession. Plus, I love that Lainey had this same sweater when she was little, and it’s always been one of my favorites.


Each month, Dashing Bee selects a charity benefiting children that receives a portion of their proceeds. Use Code ENJOY5 for 5% off your consignment order. Happy Shopping!


And now, I leave you one blurry sneak peek–the reward of our efforts.


Any funny holiday card stories? Family photo traditions you love? Do tell.


Leave a Comment
  1. The one of Nella holding the kleenex got me all choked up!! Love the old pics

  2. Love all your Christmas photos! They’re so cute. There’s something about un-posed, candid shots that I absolutely love, too. The old shots are so cool! Hope Nella feels better soon. :)


  3. I love all of these, especially the Christmas photos! It’s always good to revisit old photos and you and your family are a genuinely lovely family. It’s great to see the photos.

  4. For the most part, I really dislike Christmas card photos. BUT after seeing your family’s old photos… I may have to change my mind. :o)

  5. We’ve always had a traditional Christmas at my Grandparents’ since before I was born. One afternoon, as I was sitting on the couch waiting for my presents, my family failed to bring my gifts out to put them under the tree. One of my other family members brought it to my attention (rubbing it in), but I couldn’t hold back my tears any longer. It was a horrible start to a great Christmas at my Grandparents’ house. Kinda’ sad, kinda’ funny. Thinking back I thought Oh Lord did I really act that way? Good news? No parents were harmed.

    I hope Nella feels better soon! There’s nothing worse than our babies being sick!

  6. My littles are under the weather as well. :( Only I have 2 that wanna be held all day and only 1 of me. We have gone through 2 boxes of tissues in 2 days!

    Can I tell you how much I love the X-mas photo of the fam in glasses!!! My little guy wears a contact and a patch to help correct his vision. I have totally thought of shooting a family photo with all of us in a patch. Now I think we have to! It’s a sign. 😉

  7. Our photos are scheduled in a week and a half. Must figure out what were wearing. Or more or less what I’m wearing, and then fit everyone else in!

    Can’t wait to see the official picture!

  8. TOO FUNNY! Well said. I love the confusion on Lainey’s face in the 2007 photo. Seriously, too funny.

  9. Have you ever asked Brett what he was doing while you were in the car waiting on him? I asked my husband that question — once. The story that emerged was unbelievable. It involved him running in to grab one thing and then somehow seeing a Slim Jim (uhm, disgusting) in his closet (still don’t understand that) and from there on it was about how he looked for dental floss absolutely everywhere but where it was (because why would dental floss be in the drawer in the bathroom where the toothpaste is?). Honestly though, after that story I’ve stopped asking. It’s just too much to handle — I prefer to sit in the car and teach the kids to tell Daddy how slow he is when he gets back in the car.

  10. This post hit home for me. It was like you were telling a story about my family exactly 2 weeks ago during our Family portraits. I always wondered if i was the only one who became the bitchy, stressed out mother over photos. And omgosh, we too are the family saying “Just snap the damn picture” “Pull down your shirt”, “Ohh well, we will photoshop that out!” I agree the most natural pictures are the best, but when is there ever a hidden camera in the bushes to take that special shot?! Never, it seems! I love how REAL you are, you tell it how it is. None of us live a perfect life, but we love our life. Thanks for such a wonderful post! I’m going to let my husband read it tonight!! I bet a million bucks he is going to say “Hey, that is us!!” LOVE the old photos by the way. Such a beautiful memory!

  11. You know – I gotta say – I love the candid holiday pictures more than the coordinated posed ones….or the ones that look casual but are really posed and coordinated….know what I mean?! One yr when I tried to get the perfect pose of my 2 littles, I ended up with lots and lots of bad out-takes. So I made a collage of all the “tries” and it was a big hit! Altogether the bad shots told a great story & actually looked great together! Thanks for sharing some of your family shots… cute! Feel better Nella….Mama-get that girl some chicken soup. xoxo

  12. Wow. I consistently love how you write. The kids bath is about to overrun so I must be quick…but this Christmas card photo tradition seems purely American and I love it! I love the artifice and the genuine in it, in equal measure. Great inspired post. Lou x

  13. Absolutely Awesome post! thank you for sharing your Christmas card photos, old and new. Loved em! Can’t wait to see this years! I am struggling with coming up with an idea for ours this year. It’s always candid, but i want to do something a little different this year. :)

  14. I can’t wait to see your pic in all its Christmas glory. Our family pictures always had to have the dog posing with us, and I think he always knew it was coming because he would purposely give us the butt shot in all the good ones!

  15. I LOVED all the Christmas cards! So cool to have each year documented like that. Very, very cool.

    Can’t wait to see this year’s card :)

    Angie from Ohio

  16. We were JUST talking about how family photos always turn out to be really frustrating experiences. People are always mad and fighting with each other and the pictures turn out posed and corny, but we do them anyway. Love this post!

  17. one more comment – one thing I really dislike about holiday photos is when people have “vacation” shots on cards….it’s too much like a looky-looky where WE went…..not original enough for me….just sayin’.

  18. How much do I LOVE your family’s old Christmas cards? That is some great Americana right there. And shame on you for teasing with the blurry photo!!! Can’t wait to see the real one. :-)

  19. I loved your picture last year! I know that this years photo will be wonderful!

  20. The photo of Nella, with the tissue, made me all teary. And the fact that you had to actually cut Austyn’s sleeves… Kind of reminded me of my maths class today which basically involved a conversation about how rugby gave three boys really toned arms and just broke everyone elses fingers.

  21. Great story! Isn’t it funny how family photos bring out the worst in us yet we feel the need to get them done every year 😉

  22. absolutely loved all the christmas photos!! excited to see how this years turned out :) i hope nella feels better! xoxo

  23. We used to get the goofiest pictures we could while on vacation, so we could use them for the Christmas card. Some included: the kids grumping and rolling eyes while standing in front of a museum sign, in front of the World’s Largest Ball of Twine (By One Man) in Darwin, MN, and as young teens, criminal-style hands on the hood of a police car that was parked at a tourist info station in Duluth. The best one though, was the year I was holding my cousin’s new baby. I wrote a tacky Christmas letter that told about what the kids had done that year, and how Baby Camron was growing soooo fast. At the very bottom of the page, in small print, I informed people that he was NOT mine, nor my 13 year old daughter’s baby. We got many comments from people that we had fooled!

  24. I blogged about this topic not long ago after our second family photo attempt. Blog titled: Want A Good Laugh. (And I literally laugh every time I look at these photos.)

    Can’t wait to see your finished product! I thoroughly enjoy reading your blog!

  25. I didn’t even get to be in our family photos that were shot last Saturday because my insides were exploding from the stomach flu! Won’t forget this one!

  26. Awww, I loved looking at the old Christmas cards.. They’re too cute :)

    Cannot wait to see your photos for this years card x

  27. cannot wait to see the masterpiece! love the old cards too! :)

  28. Thank you! So happy to know that others are sharing in the “family Christmas photo” stress! We recently had our family Christmas photo taken. Which I had completely forgotten about until noon that day, when our photographer called to asked where & what time we wanted to meet… Both of my girls (4&2) were very uncooperative and I pledged that next year before we do photos, I am going to have a glass (or 2 or 3) of wine!

  29. I wish I did! I love traditions and perhaps I do so because we really didn’t have many in my family.
    Nowadays I keep taking shots of me and my boys, whenever we’re together and I can’t wait to see them afterwards!
    Same with x-mas: I and hubs take x-mas shot every year of the two of us and always have a blast!!!
    Love the post!
    Hope Nella gets better soon.

  30. Those old family photos are awesome! I love yours as well. Christmas was just another day for my family. One that we fed cows just like we did every other day. But now I want cows of my own to feed. I remember finding out Santa wasn’t real by pretending to have to go to the bathroom. Does that count as a funny Christmas story?

  31. Your cards are great! We don’t even know what we are going to do this year. Hopefully we’ll get a picture of the Fam over Thanksgiving. :)

    Side note: the coupon code you gave for that consignment website isn’t working. Says it’s either expired or invalid.

  32. I think getting the perfect yearly family picture stresses all moms out. I remember my mom making us wear uncomfortable/ unnatural clothes for pictures where we ended up looking very posed and stiff and I try not to do that, but still wind up looking very stressed and rigid in our pictures.

  33. Oh this one brought back some memories! My mother would force my brother, sister and I into a shoot once a year for a “Christmas card hopeful” and we had the most heinous matchy-matchy outfits and awful hair styles! My mom would get ultra nasty and mad as we’d make faces, cross our eyes, pick our noses and give bunny ears behind each other. Back in the days of film, she would go through 2-3 rolls and maybe get ONE decent one. Now I am understanding hers (and yours!) pain as I try and coordinate a Christmas card of me, my husband and our son. He’s one and it is IMPOSSIBLE to get him to look at the camera, AND have us both smiling. How I wish we lived closer so we could have YOU do our family shoot. You so get the “essence” of what this tradition is about and I know you could candidly capture our family in all it’s glory…AND reality! :) Can’t wait to see the un-blurred version!

  34. Loved this post!! Love looking at the old Christmas cards. You come from such creative minds!!

  35. Loved this post because its how I get for all of our professional family pictures as well. Its the type a, oldest child, creative thing and it rears its “bossy” head during these times! But I love the picture of Nella and the kleenex too! So sweet and candid!

  36. Love the old family photos! They are awesome! Can’t wait to see this year’s pic!

  37. High-larious! And I must say last years photo is beyond kick-ass. That is all.

  38. Oh!A moving post… The photos awesome, once again! I wish I did that, too… This year I m pretty sure that I will do it and I will send you our photo! You re still an inspiration for us!!! Your family is shining!!!
    I hope your Nella will be better!!! My little Maria is ill, too…
    Love love love from Greece

  39. Well Kelle, you did it. You wrote my most favorite piece of all time I’ve ever read on this blog. And that’s coming from someone who saves each of your posts to read as a special reward for, say, cleaning the bath tub or writing my own posts.

    “Except, in the background, you notice someone failed to remember to turn the T.V. off before the camera clicked. The jig is up.”


    Ever seen Raising Hope? There’s a whole episode on Christmas Photos. Hilarious!

    I Love this!!

  40. The old family Christmas cards are mesmerizing – I can’t stop admiring them. What a wonderful memory of your past!
    And I do the same thing every year with the photo shoots, my crazy comes out and I’m lucky if the kids don’t start crying, and EVERY year I throw up my hands and shriek “WHY do we do this?!?!?”
    But, looking back on how wonderful those old family memories are, I’m so glad we do it.

  41. With the absence of little children in our home, I have resorted to dressing up our dogs. Last year Nigella was rocking her reindeer antlers, Claudia was only 5 months old so thought they were for chewing. Never the less we persevered whilst Claudia chewed and wrestled, and I nearly wet myself laughing. We got 1 decent shot in front of my parents tree but the out takes were hilarious!!
    Oh that stripey top on Nella, love, and Lainey’s cardi too. I hope you guys had a little fun during your shoot, and that Nella feels better soon!

  42. I can’t stop laughing. This sounds oh so familiar. How many times have I barked at my kids “please just give me one nice smile.”. Too funny. That reminds me, it is time to get our Christmas picture taken. 😉

  43. OMG I love those old pics!!! Thanks so much for sharing. I seriously lol’d at the airplane one. Might have to photoshop myself something like that for this year’s Christmas card 😀 And I totally hear you on the photo stuff. Never goes as planned. We just had our family shoot a month ago and my 2 yr old was not happy about it and kept running away to the park she could see across the field we were in. The winds were like 30 mph and my and my daughter’s hair were stuck to our lipgloss in half the pics, which btw the photographer tried to photoshop out..and let me tell you, it’s pretty noticable when someone tries to photoshop hair out of your mouth. hahaha

  44. Love all the old Christmas Cards and the stories behind them. :)

  45. I really like this post. I was reading through some of the comments, and agree the Christmas card is an American tradition, but looking at your father’s family snaps – what a lovely tradition it is! (Now I have a baby I can start it.) I also really liked the out take collage idea, who doesn’t love tv bloopers (nearly?) more than the show?
    Lainey has changed so much this past year.

  46. Those old pics are amazing. The blocks meticulously laid out there… so very, very natural indeed. Wish we’d done something similar in my family. We did start one with our LO. Can’t wait to take this year’s photo, now to come up with some clever ideas. I’ve found some inspiration from this post! 😀

  47. Oh God, I’m so glad I’m not alone in this! Any time we take family photographs I turn into Dragon Lady, stressing about every.single.detail. and shouting out ridiculous commands. It’s right up there with the stage mom’s in toddlers and tiaras! :(
    I always regret the way I acted afterwards and vow to not put so much pressure on my family for perfect shots. So maybe, just maybe I’ll actually do that this year! :)

  48. so the last time my family did a family photo it would have been (gosh) 7-8 years ago – i was still in high school. it was a church directory photo. we’re awful at these pictures and i guess because my mom is on staff at church she really felt the pressure to look good. i remember her saying as we walked out, “if we ever have to take a family picture again, we’re all putting bags over our heads.”

    so yeah… we’ve all been there.

  49. so sweet. love all your christmas photos of your family from the past. can’t wait to see this years photo. (:

  50. Last year I had this great idea that my kids, one boy and one girl, would wear matching pajamas and give each other a big hug with our sweet yorkie sitting peacefully at their feet. After 3 stores we ended up with pajamas they both hated, two kids refusing to like each other and a dog running circles around their feet. Our final picture – just their feet in cute jammies they both hated and the dog who finally chilled out. This year we are aiming for faces :-)

  51. This is So me! And I am glad I am not the only one!! I love your Framed Cards of Holidays Past…that is a great idea.

    PS I love that the vibe of your family photos changed in 2009…the year Nella was bakin’ in your oven…she was already filling your lives with her gentle spirit!

  52. Oh man! I thought we were actually going to get to see the fruits of your labor and not a blurry pic haha! I am sure it will be fantastic! When I was about 10 my parents tried to take our Christmas card photo in front of the fireplace with the dog, we were 11, 8, and 5 years old. None of us kids cooperated. It is the best picture to date, we still look back and laugh. I was cracking up, the dog was licking my younger bros face and he was laughing so hard I think he was going to pee his pants, and my other brother was trying to tuck in his shirt. Yep, that’s the pic that went out to everyone and it was the most candid our family could get!

  53. I’ve been cringing at the idea of trying to get the 3 kids to all look at the camera this year (I’m not even asking for smiles!) Looking at your grandparents old photos made me laugh! How awesome that you have those! Can’t wait to see your finished photo for the year! Hope Nella is feeling better soon.

  54. I am guilty of not throwing out a single card, letter, scrap of paper with some kid scrawl on name it, I save everything.
    Don’t care what anyone says..when you look back..nothing but treasures. Precious memories.
    Loved this post.

  55. my girl is 2 and last year we did our first holiday card with our two big dogs…. it nearly ended when one of the dogs spotted a squirrel and took the chair out from underneath me while I was holding my girl… but we ended up recovering and snapping an amazing family photo. We haven’t been so brave as to attempt this year’s yet……

  56. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate this post. Seriously.

    Every photo shoot we have done has had me near tears and completely stressed out to the point that I rarely do them now. The worst shoot was the one where I fed the kids right before the shoot, arrived at the shoot a little early so that we were not rushing around (one of my personal triggers for crabbiness :-) Then, the photographer was running 45 minutes behind and blew ALL of the goodwill that I had built with my kids.

    I adore your site and I love the gorgeous photography. This site inspires me with every post. However, I appreciate you letting us in on the fact that you also get impatient and are even Horn Honker. Who knew? :-)

  57. so cool that you have those old photos :) we did ours on sunday and everyone complained :-/ whatever…we got a good one :)

  58. I sooooo want a photo of my family on a plane- its amazing!

  59. LOVE the older Christmas cards, what a great keepsake. Sorry that Nella isn’t feeling well. Hope she feels better. We took our holiday photos last weekend, and I have to agree it was uber stressful. But now the cards are finished and being shipped soon, so I am VERY happy!

  60. Loved the pictures from the 50’s and the teaser, blurred shot of your Christmas picture….clever, very clever. Of course the Nella and the tissue was adorable.

  61. I adore the virtual “growing up” we can see of your girls and family.

  62. I always get a picture of the kids for our card,and I remembered how frustrated I got last year. So this year, I just decided to take what I took, and just be happy with what comes out. I can’t photoshop, but I’m ok with the imperfections, because it’s real.

  63. I just love old photos! And I was laughing and shaking my head yes, thinking this is my family every year, trying to get that perfect Christmas photo too. Between scheduling a time we can all do it (my oldest is in college) and then getting the perfect shot is always fun with a 3 year old little boy full of energy (my youngest). But believe it or not this year I actually got the perfect shot (totally unplanned) while we were celebrating my husband’s birthday. Just had to do a little photo shopping and wala it’s done.
    Looking forward to seeing yours unblurred.

  64. Oh, I just love it. I can tell – even through the blurry – that it will be oh so lovely….as are all of the “vintage” Christmas cards…

  65. You know what I love most about Christmas pictures? That they have two distinct meanings…that they’re meant to convey love and peace during the holidays, which they absolutely do…but there is ALWAYS a story behind them!! I love all your old pics, and the new ones too!! :)

  66. so funny and so true!! can’t wait to see the final “Real” moment :)

    hope nella feels better soon!

  67. We photoshop/swap heads. every.single.year.
    no way can we get ten kids and two adults looking at the camera and smiling all at the same time.
    last year I was VERY tempted to use this one…

    but photoshop came to the rescue

    LOVE those vintage photos, I would frame them too!!

  68. Traditions and Photos:

    Every year my extended family gets together at my grandmother’s on Christmas Eve. My favorite tradition is the annual talent show. My family has poets, singers, musicians, artists…that night is BEAUTIFUL! And like you say full of moments we try to cover up in pictures.

    S0 – when I was a kid, my family would sing GO TELL IT ON THE MOUNTAIN! My parents would sing the verses and my brother and I sang the chorus. Well, my brother was not singing it like we practiced and someone took a candid shot of me Shushing my brother and the whites of my eyeballs are showing so much! You can’t tell a bit that I was the bossy one of the bunch.


    I love this post!! :o)

  69. Oh my gosh- that makes me feel soooooooo much better- I swear all that was coming out of my mouth last year as I was setting up the Christmas lights in my son’s crib with his 3 year old sister were words that would make Santa faint. This year was a little better as I had the idea/theme and had a friend come take the shots, however the last minute of getting a 2,a 4 year old and myself ready made for some unkind words/looks to the hubby who only gets himself ready….. how ironic I’m supposed to be spreading Christmas joy and all I am spreading is a bunch of crap……literally (poop was was wiped on my pants…)

  70. You just made me laugh so hard, thank you for that!
    Your honesty is definitely relatable!

  71. Absolutely loved this post. Love it. Thank you so much for sharing so much. Made me smile on a hard day to smile. Thank you. Sharing christmas card images? OK! Check out ours at, under the heading “Grey Matters”. You will see our christmas 2011 pic there… : )

  72. For about 5 years straight, our Christmas pictures sported my kids with red eyes. One would pinch or shove the other, or I would finally yell at them to act right so I could get a decent picture. One year I chased them around the back yard. I am a slow learner to eventually realize photographing in public would make for better behaved children.

  73. Nella looks so much like Lainey in the Christmas card from 2008. Too cute!

  74. Hands down….one of my favorite posts ever! I love, love the old photos! How great it is that you have all of those and can display them in your home. I actually started reading this post, stopped, and scrolled down to see the finished product, which was, BLURRED! Cannot wait to see it! I am sure it is fabulous!

  75. Do you watch “Raising Hope?” If you don’t, go to season 1 and watch the Christmas Photo episode. You have to. I’m fairly sure it’s called, “Say Cheese.”

  76. We’re taking our holiday portraits on Dec. 3rd. Burned out with the red & green theme, we’re going with the color blue this year. Also, I don’t want ‘Merry Christmas’ on our cards, that seeems as if it’s only for December. I’m having them say PEACE ON EARTH, sort of encompassing our wish for now and always. Both my boys are wearing cute little argyle sweaters. I know they’ll hate me in 30 yrs for it…haha. Gotta love this time of year.

  77. every year we traipse out with a tripod somewhere and get the shot. have to say it’s become one of my very favorite traditions. last year we made our way through waist high weeds and gunk to plant ourselves in front of a gorgeous fenced off pasture. cows were grazing off in the distance…it was so picturesque. once the cows saw us they could keep away and mosied all the way to the fence and got in the middle of our shot. it was awesome. it even looks like he’s smiling…his big head right between ours. love it!

  78. Love this! Two Christmas’s ago I was pregnant and didn’t know it! My mother in law comment that my “ahem” bosom was quite full and could I be pregnant? A week later sure enough!! This will be his 3rd Christmas technically and I fully intend on another posed adorably cheesy moment for our pics!

  79. LOVE this post! We’ve never been the “photo Christmas card” family. 2010 was my all time favorite pic! You have an a adorable family.

  80. I love the vintage Christmas cards; especially the one on the airplane, pre-photoshop! Every year I drag my little family through the ringer as I strive for the perfect shot. One year I had them outside in their PJs in 30 degree weather threatening to take away Christmas AND their birthdays if they didn’t look “just right.” Thankfully, no one called CPS and we made it through another year. (Bad parenting moment.) Can’t wait to see what this year brings.

  81. Love it! Those golden oldies are magnificent…they look straight out of a magazine. This year our Christmas card will read as follows: “Sasquatch samples obtained…4, Unicorn sightings…3, family photos that capture everyone’s smiles (and full heads)…0″ This will be pasted onto a collage of photos that capture our ridiculous attempts to get ONE good photo. Elusive, indeed! The one of me cringing right before Jack strikes me over the head is my favourite. 😉

  82. Laughing out loud at your family history in cards!

    I took Ellie’s the other day. I wrapped a box, plopped in Santa-hatted baby. She ate the paper, and we went with it. It’s us.

  83. I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who gets crabby when taking Christmas card photos. My poor kids. We don’t do the whole family, but I do like to get the kids. I think I’m done with posing. It’s too much trouble. But then i see your blur and it motivates me to do it all over again.

  84. It’s always on the days that are supposed to be meant for sending out love and light, that I’m bitchiest. It’s the price we pay for wanting things to be pretty.

  85. oh my goodness you are too funny! I become the same way during family photo shoots- silly isn’t it. I had to tell my hubby about this post and he laughed and said geez sounds like someone I know. But the photos are so worth it! Especially the 2 year old crying on Santa’s lap. Love that one of my girl. Thanks for getting me in the holiday mood early!

  86. OMG!!! (that “G” is for gosh)
    This is hilarious and so true. I love your family cards from the past and the scrabble pieces are the best. I would love to find some old photos like that (of any family) and frame them. Have you ever done one of those Christmas letters? I have a friend that is so honest in hers that it makes it the best one. “K drags N around the house by his legs…” I can hear the laughter in your home in years to come about the tight pants and best of all the cut sleeves for bulging muscles. Hahahahahahahahahahaha…I’ll be laughing for awile with this one.

  87. Hahaha – loved this post. Your older family pictures have incredible creative flair in them! I see where you got your creativity and love for life. :-)

  88. This comment has been removed by the author.

  89. Hahaha. I get it. Totally. This is my first Christmas as a single mom, and I am bound and determined to send out a picture of the three of us girls. Equipped with a cute idea I saw on Pinterest with giant letters spelling “J-O-Y” we jumped in the car for a 25 minute drive to Joann’s to find some giant letters… only my children had emotional breakdowns throughout the store, I yelled and threatened more than I ever had, and they were all sold out of “J” and “Y”. Merry Frick’n Christmas

  90. Love it! Who takes your photo for you though? Or is that a tripod and self timer kind of business? Still totally love last years!!

  91. Me too. Some situations bring out the worst in me and I hate it. Today was one of those days. I hope Nella starts feeling better. I love the collection of cards, at least you do it every year. They are lovely.

  92. We’ve been waiting to do our family photo Christmas card until we had our first child…we’re adopting from Taiwan and prayerfully hoping this is our last Christmas without a photo Christmas card.


  93. I can’t even see your family photo clearly and I already love it (and am jealous in advance). We have ours scheduled for next weekend at an outdoor mini session, where I have to figure out how to get four kids to look moderately happy in one photo when one of them will be freezing in a short sleeved dress and the newborn whimpers in any temperature under 70 degrees. sigh…i feel frustrated and stressed already, but hope that when it’s said and done, i’ll have something to look back on and be tearful over.

  94. This post made me laugh out loud. As the mother of a 3 year old and 2 year old twins, Christmas card photo day is the most ridiculous, exhasting day of the year! I laugh at how I try to make the kids look like “perfect angels” and often wonder why I just don’t send out a pic of peanut butter faces and dirt pie hands. This year I shot the pic on Halloween, after a rare October snow storm in the Northeast. My daughters thought I was crazy, pulling off their Halloween costumes, and pulling on the Christmas tights and dresses. All for the perfect “snow” shot! It was hysterical!

  95. Great post!

    I thought you might take a liking to this particular story:

    Thanks for looking :)


  96. My husband and I started a holiday card tradition the first year we were together. We take a completely random and silly themed photo. We’ve done Cowboy Christmas, Goth Christmas, The Immaculate Conception, Drag Christmas among others. Now that we have kids, they have joined in the tradition. We’re getting ready for this years theme…but I can’t tell cause we always keep it a secret!

  97. Oh, I’m so crazy about holiday photo time as well. Good to know that I’m not alone. Looking forward to seeing the results of your hard work.

  98. It’s so great to see these family photos from Christmases gone by and to see Lainey as a baby.

  99. I know. Me too. And that’s all I can say about that. I always feel so bad afterward, so I offer ice-cream as a truce. :(

    Wow! What a priceless treasure all your Cryderman photos are! And do you have a copy of the MTV photo? Must see–hahaha!

    Can’t wait to see your “in focus” photo :)

  100. I think this is one of my favourite posts! Love the history and tradition your family has of Christmas Card photos – loved seeing the cards from the past.. what a wonderful memory to have!

  101. Family photos were always a fake show for me growing up…. Parents who would have been divorced if they didn’t have kids, kids who hated the puffy stuffy cloths. I swore I would never force my family into fake snap shots of a wantabe life. And although I have a good marriage, my husband hates photos and honestly was grunting through his smile ” I hate you” as we possed on our love seat that I made him help me move to a field for our family photos with three kids I had to brib with a secret surprise to get them to smile. I cringed with guilt as friends left comments on my photos of our beautiful family- the family that was faking smiles in a miserable photo. The pictures came out great though!!

  102. Omg. I make them do a whole calendar, for the grandmas, full of pictures. Oscar is going to totally need therapy for some of these. I’ve got this years planned out but haven’t started shooting.

    Here’s last years if you need a laugh!

  103. Your family photos from the 40s and 50s are incredible! Thanks so much for sharing them.

    When I was younger we had Easter pictures done at a fancy studio and the photographer gave us all real baby chicks to hold. Well, they pooped everywhere on our dresses, the background, we started screaming…it was a disaster.

  104. We just did our photo shoot and my husband also asked to not wear his too tight jeans any more!! It is hard to look cool, especially when you are not! Merry Christmas!!!!

  105. What a treasure, to behold all of those vintage family photos proclaiming…”freak flag flies here too”! Thanks for sharing! We took our Christmas card pictures a couple weeks ago on a cold windy fall day here in the Midwest and got a whole lotta’ shots with grumpy grins on our usually smiley girlies-but hey we chuckle each time we look at them!
    P.S. I would’ve honked too!

  106. I LOVE that your family did those cards and kept them. Worth a million, right? Love it.

    Also – you know this, but your girls are just dolls. That last picture of Nella just makes me want to cry because she’s so darn precious. Good grief.

    I have done candid shots on the Christmas cards every year, and this year we did our first-ever “real” photo shoot (coordinating outfits and husband complaining and child wanting to just. go. play. and all that mess). I haven’t ordered the cards yet and I’m swaying between the pose-y one or the candid one. Hmm…

  107. Cannot wait to see your card!!!!

    Feel better Nella! :o(

  108. It’s pretty cool to see old photos.
    I’ve often wondered what my future children will wonder about my own christmas family photos. We never did the christmas cards but we have pictures of every year of the my godmothers cookie party. From 4 kids to about 20. All knee deep in icing and sprinkles.

  109. What a great story – the history of the Cryderman Christmas photo. I love your honesty behind the pressure to have the posed shot and feeling so tense in the moment. Thank you for sharing.

    My parents took the easy route and hired someone to pose us always unnaturally around a tree for the family portrait. And now with my own clan, I am so glad to have a best friend who is a professional photographer and captures us naturally.


  110. I really enjoyed the older photos. I think they were great! Shows a family enjoying the upcoming holiday. I myself have never been one to ever take a Christmas photo for a card. Never really interested me. I also found it funny you were waiting on your husband. Usually its the other way around!

  111. Not a proud moment, but I actually made my 5 year old cry because he wasn’t sitting right, smiling right, holding his sister right, yep, you get it…finally my hubby said, “Dear, go grab a glass of wine and I’ll take the picture.” And to this day, it’s my favorite!

  112. My mom has never been one for holiday cards with the posed photos. So though we do photo shoots, it’s about every 4 years and it’s not for the holidays. When I have my own family, I know it will be something I do. I just love looking at other families’ Christmas cards. Watching their kids grow. It’s just other part of this holiday season that I love oh-so-much:)


  113. I hope Nella feels better…such a cute picture with her tissue. Love your old photos, too. We never did that growing up. My husband and I started doing it with our first JCPenneys…learned the first year to color coordinate the clothes…but we only did it for three or four years…last year, we took it ourselves with the timer on the camera. That was fun. I’m with you on the honking though…I think that’s why we stopped going to those things. I got WAY to stressed about it. I’ve been checking out pinterest this year for some cute ideas. Can’t wait to see the real picture…my eyes got blurry trying to figure yours out :)

  114. My dad’s family (7 kids) took the BEST Christmas photos (in the 50’s and 60’s). And those letter tiles?? I have a set of them! I made them into magnets and put them on my fridge. I’ve never seen them anywhere else before!

  115. I am going to take my kids pic in the morning for our card. I always have this one pic in mind and it never happens and I am left feeling disappointed. Not this year, either it will happen or something else as wonderful will… or that’s what I keep telling myself! I still really need to know what kind of dog Latte is? Thanks!

  116. This is so true! I totally stress over family pictures. Last year we got our pictures taken and the photographer (a friend) was impressed with the outfits I put together. She complimented me on it as if it took me no time at all to “throw” the ensemble together. When, really, it took me several trips to several stores over a period of several days to get it just right. Then I had to go back and return the stuff that didn’t work. Did I tell her that? No way!

  117. I LOVE THIS POST SO MUCH. I’m not sure your family is capable of EVER taking a bag picture. We never did Christmas card photos, but we have plenty of church directory ones that we whip out at Christmas to howl over. Can’t wait to see the finished product! Merry Christmas!

  118. Hahaha! I am admiring your restraint to not lay on the horn! When I was about 5 or 6 my family made our last trip to Olan Mills where the over weight photographer had the nastiest cold and kept snorting and rubbing his nose with the back of his sleeve. It took forever. My dad was pissed. And that was the end of that. So far I have just done candid shots of my boys for Christmas cards. :)

  119. I love seeing your Dad’s family in those old Christmas cards. As the mom of four boys, I have to say their posed pictures (pre-photoshop era!) are nothing short of miraculous. Also, I have a secret desire to do a mid-century style family portrait, complete with bow ties, cardigans and a pipe for my husband. Being the sole source of estrogen in the house, I have little hope.

  120. Ok, I checked out Dashing Bee and ordered some things for my darling daughter. The coupon code didn’t work, so they totally made it up to me for future purchases! Thanks for turning me onto them, they ROCK!

  121. I love candid shots to … the ones that show the little moments of life especially the ones where the person in the photo is blissfully unaware of their photo being taken … I feel they show more of the essence of who the person is.
    I cannot believe your perserverance with the Christmas photo shoots … I think it is a great way to record the changes in a family.
    I would have honked away shamelessly so well done on the restraint.

  122. It just so happens we did pictures this week and I wrote about it here.

  123. OMG I love this Kelle! Because it’s so true! My friends and I always say how Christmas card taking turns us moms into the meanest, bitchiest moms and after it’s all done we need a glass of wine…or two;) So funny how we try to look perfect but if we printed the bloopers and sent those out, people would bust out laughing and see how it really is day to day! But any mom knows how it really is anyway;) One shot out of 200 or more, right?;) I’m sure your cards will be wonderful!

  124. Just last weekend we woke up to a fresh six inches of new snow here in Alaska. It was “the day”, and I wanted to capture my girl in her red pea-coat before the snow fell off all the spruce trees in the backyard. I made her stand on a red stool, despite my husband’s warnings that she’d fall off. Well, girlie made a perfect snow angel before we could get any good shots. I’m tempted to use the one of her crying in the snow. Love the Christmas card out-takes almost more than the perfect ones :) We love opening matching pj’s on Christmas Eve. Now that we have four generations of girls it’s even more fun!

  125. I love your Christmas card photos, no matter how posed they are, it still represents and captures the love and traditions of your family.

  126. I love your family’s old photos & your grandparents ones too! Inspires me to try harder with mine so that I have something for my grandchildren’s wall! Hope Nella is feeling better!

  127. You have a beautiful family, thank you so much for sharing the realistic tales behind the perfect shots! I love Christmas time and now that I’ve read your wonderfully worded piece the excitement is growing!

  128. Growing up my mom made our family of 9 take pictures each year. We all hated it, but now that she has passed, we are all so grateful for those beautiful memories from out childhood.

  129. I can more than relate!!
    On a side note, I LOVED this post because I know Super Bill… my hubby and I worked with his son Mark when he was at Crossroads – such good men! (and such wonderful pictures!)

  130. Since our second child was born, Christmas cards have been pictures of the two kids together. A couple years ago, I decided I could take the picture. Thank God for digital cameras. After about 20 silly shots and I was losing my cool, I just started snapping away. Now each year I add another chapter to what I call “The Anatomy of a Christmas Card Picture.” And we all laugh. This past year, the kids wanted to get out the door so they were unnaturally cooperative. I think I only took a dozen pics. :)

  131. Which one is your dad in these photos?

  132. I’m glad you put in a sneak peek because I was soooo curious by the time I was halfway down your post, to see what your finished pic would look like (and hey, a sneak peek is better than nothing at all, though I’m really dying to see the Bridget Bardot hair)
    You totally look rockstar in the 2008, and the nerd glasses of 2009 are freakin awesome. :)

  133. This is my favorite post yet. I’ve written about capturing our own ‘joyous’ memories many times. I agree with you- that we are who we are in our posed, sometimes forced family togetherness of holiday photos as much as we are in our wrinkled-shirt-captive shots. One year, I gave up- the boys were cooperating but their sister was obstinate. She refused to pose or smile; and, that resulted in many bribes and threats on our part. I took at least one hundred photos that day and finally settled on the one that most represented our family- an image of two brothers forcing some semblance of brotherly love while their sister screamed- open mouthed, tears staining her face between them. That has become my favorite image of all time. Because it is real. Now I just use Photoshop to crop out and replace whole heads.

    Love the old family photos!

    Wishing you a Happy Weekend! Hope Nella feels better soon.

  134. Fun, fun, fun pictures! Family photos are fun and stressful all at the same time!

  135. Love this! That plane picture is hilarious!

    Our house is on the market and we got a call from our realtor hours before our photo shoot telling us we had a showing that afternoon. (By the way, I think ‘showings’ should be called ‘lyings’ because our house NEVER looks like this with a toddler!) We were sweating, laughing and cursing at the same time trying to dress Jack, collect matchbox cars from under the couches and hide the computer that usually sits on our kitchen table. I was ‘carefully applying’ my makeup on Chicago’s Lakeshore drive, timing my eyeliner with unforgiving Lake Shore Drive potholes. Life happens, but I still love those shots of my husband playing his guitar for our little guy in front of Buckingham Fountain!

  136. Okay, Half of me really wants you to use that blurry sneak peek as your Christmas card because it could be epic! In our family, my Mother always wants to get family photos “professionally done” when everyone goes and sits in a cramped studio with fake light and smiles awkwardly while their heads are turned or tipped just enough to be uncomfortable. The rest of the family vetoes the idea immediately. Sadly, this results in no family pictures for the past ten years. I think we owe her a family picture this year…

  137. Those old pics gave me a lump in my throat. I never minded our posed family photos, even the goofier ones. There is a gold mine of inside humor behind every shot and when I look at the pictures, I am brought right back. And I love the earnestness of my parents stressing to get a nice photo. We laughed at them of course but there is something endearing about two adults scurrying around, pressing self-timers, fixing hair. Very sweet.

  138. I tried to take our family photo the other day as well. I ended up with my husband yawning, my 2 yr old hitting a tree and my 10 month old daughter eating a leaf while doing an almost yoga-like pose :) But…thats us too!

  139. So, this year my son was headed into the Navy and my oldest son was coming home from Colorado for a few months and we thought we should take advantage of the moment that all 5 kids and my hubby and I were together and get pics. You should take a look at the scene. I love what transpired.

  140. Funny blog post! Loved it!

  141. Love love love the old christmas photos. my husband and i also take a family picture every year for our holiday card. i can’t wait to look back on them in 10-15 years and remember where we were/what we were doing at the time. can’t wait to see the 2011 photo!

  142. That completely sounds like my life every time I try to find that perfect portrait moment with my life. I become some monster and start yelling, at least one or two children start crying. I have sweat running down my face and need a wardrobe change and we usually take 200 photos to find that ONE that will make the cut.

    In fact, I’m still so exhausted from pumpkin patch photos that I’m not sure I have it in me to muster up enough energy for Christmas. I think I’ll just take individual shots and then put them all together. Thank God for Photoshop and a husband who’s a graphic artist. That might just save my sanity this year! Can’t wait to see “the shot”

  143. Thank you for this post! We are planning our photos for tomorrow and I feel the stress creeping up! I laughed at the pictures and cried because it really is all about family and special moments! I feel better about the upcoming pictures already :)

  144. We love our family pics, too! I have all of ours in a special album.

    Good vibes to sweet Nella!

  145. Ahhhh….you are teasing us!!!!

  146. Ah, Kelle! I love all of the photos, the old ones, the new ones, even the ones of a not-feeling-well Nella. Sweet little thing. I loved this post – was so real with the inner ‘bi*ch’ coming out and the not-so-perfect moments. But that they are part of who you are, too. Thank you for this. Again, always. From one of your many Canadian admirers,

    Laura Luyt
    (p.s. I have always been obsessed with stripes on my littles, too!)

  147. Love the old pics!

    Our family loves to dig into the huge box of family pics, at least once, during the holidays. We also dig out the old VHS tapes of Christmases past and laugh and remember when the babies were little little.

  148. That was cute, I enjoyed this post. Those were some great Christmas card photos, they were ahead of their time! I especially loved it because I have four boys too.

  149. love the sneak peak and what fun from last year!!

  150. This is my all time favorite post! It’s so real!!!! My mommy friends and I always talk about taking photos and how we are screaming and snotty moments before and then SMILE, and click click, so funny, so wrong, but so right! Oh and did you come from the coolest family ever or what?? those Christmas shots are amazing!

  151. my dad has a big striper on mounted on the wall, and we stand in front of it. one year we didn’t, and people called to complain!
    with my own fam, now, well, we just hope i can round up some good pics, but we don’t do an official posed one. i don’t have the patience! :)

  152. The family Christmas photo is such a lovely Amercian tradition. We look forward every year to receiving ours from our freinds in the States. We don’t do them ove rhere in Ireland but I would love to start a trend! Love all of these old ones.

  153. We haven’t tackled the holiday photo yet but I just had to write to thank you for telling it just like it really is. I needed that!

  154. The old photoshop head-swap! oh how I can relate. We kept our girls up WAY too late on a school night one year trying to capture the perfect shot around our freshly trimmed tree. If The eldest wasn’t purposefully sabotaging shots with crossed eyes in a shot, then her little sister was melting down from fatigue in it. Photoshop saved us and kept mom looking serene, too!

  155. Oh do I have the funny holiday photo story…every year my Mom too strived for that perfect shot. I hate to admit that she had my sister and I in matching dresses way into our teens! This particular year we happened to get an unseasonably warm day in November so it was “QUICK into your Christmas clothes and lets get in the yard for a picture!” So off we went to the backyard, the 5 of us and our beloved black lab. There we were, camera on tripod all lined up, forced smiles, smoothing skirts, fixing fly-away hairs all while the automatic timer shot away. Certain after about 100 shots that we got at least ONE that would suffice we packed it up. My Mother, got the photos, chose a shot and had them printed for mailing. It wasn’t until the final product arrived and my mom was armed with her pen and stamps to start addressing that we realized we WOULD NOT be sending out these photos. There, smack dab in the middle of the family photo, sat our beloved black lab who was apparently VERY excited to be getting his picture taken…how do I put this….all of his “manhood” was on display, and I mean ALL of it! Needless to say, there was no family photo that year…but those cards are tucked away in our family box of memories and we get a BIG kick out of retelling that story!

  156. What is it about men and getting out of the house in time? I swear, I have my three girls and myself dressed, diaper bag packed and everyone in the car and we usually sit there waiting for my husband while he runs around frantically trying to get himself out the door. I usually keep busy by starting the car and turning it out of the driveway while coaching my girls to roll their eyes properly while they ask him why he is always taking so long to get ready. To top it all off, he usually comes sprinting out of the house asking me where some absolutely necessary item is (such as that random piece of paper on which he jotted down his shopping list), before sprinting back towards the house. I swear women are saints sometimes….

    (My husband is a great guy, BTW, has a PhD and everything, is wonderful with our girls, just not a multitasker – I feel the need to put that in out of loyalty to him 😉

    I love the collection of old family photos. With that kind of Christmas card family tradition, I can see why you just have to have the formal card shot. And your girls will have a fun time lining their hallways with these pictures in years to come.

  157. your so right on… all the times.. I get my step son.. and my son and my husband ready.. there are so many issues… threats, bribes.. the story behind the cards is what we should mail with it.. LOL
    I love the legacy you have for your daughters.. and to have those very staged.. but very creative old photos.. is a HUGE treasure.
    Nella and the tissue.. feel better hon..

  158. your so right on… all the times.. I get my step son.. and my son and my husband ready.. there are so many issues… threats, bribes.. the story behind the cards is what we should mail with it.. LOL
    I love the legacy you have for your daughters.. and to have those very staged.. but very creative old photos.. is a HUGE treasure.
    Nella and the tissue.. feel better hon..

  159. Kelle I like you decide on crazy clothing and think ” Why the hell did I wear that.” Part of the fun! Good times!

  160. Your intro brought back memories of my mom and I sitting in the driveway, waiting for my dad who was on “his time” as well! It’s nice to know another family shares this too!
    As for holiday card stories, the most ridiculous was my husband and I trying to take a Christmas photo with our cat (this was pre-kids). It took about 40 takes on our self timer camera to get one that was even remotely usable! Lesson learned, the pets stay out of the photo!

  161. This post was so great as we are doing our first family photo for Christmas this year with our new baby! Funny story from the past…when I was about 24, my mom picked our family photo without everyone’s approval. She thought it looked great, so she printed 200 and sent them out to friends and family. I got the card while living in London, and to my shock and horror, the angle of the camera shot straight up my denim skirt. Nice. Note to self: don’t wear granny pants for the family photo, just in case!
    Thanks a million for your wonderful words – you are amazing!

  162. I so feel ya girl. I had my mind set on Christmas family photo day today even though I was up sick and my son had a fever tonight and Ella’s eyes were red red red. We powered through! Here is to Christmas Greetings!

  163. I become that crazy mom on family picture day, too. Haha. I’m trying to practice letting things fall where they may.

    Sometimes, when I’m having a so-so day, I feel reluctant to read your blog for fear it might make me feel worse; however, the opposite is always true. Your writing always uplifts me and makes me laugh. :)

  164. The year we had our first baby we went to get the holiday photos taken at a portrait studio. My husband forgot and was still at work 30 minutes before showtime. It resulted in a big fight about us waiting, him not being ready, etc…He said we still had to go ahead with the photo. I still cringe everytime I look at that photo because I know the smiles are totally fake. We have three kids now but there has not been a professional portrait of the entire family for fear this could happen again!

  165. Did you notice in your blurry card preview that it looks like a heart in the center??? Or is it just me? I hope your littlest love feels better fast.

  166. Who do you order your Christmas card through? I’ve been searching all morning for a website service that will allow me to start with a blank card and design mine all by myself…

  167. Love Your Stories.
    Love Your Photos.
    Can’t Wait To See This Years Photo! :)

  168. It’s like in 2009 you went crazy, and all the ones that follow that year are… weird. Not Christmas-y.
    I like 2007 and 2008 ones the best!

  169. Hi Kelle,

    New at the blogging thing myself, and was caught by your title. I teach a class for students with special needs and was reading your story of Nella’s birth with tears streaming down my face – thank you for sharing the beautiful and hard. I know some of my students parents would feel kinship with your story. Thank you for sharing. Although my kids have Autism and not DS, feel free to skip on over if you have “free” time and check out what’s going on in Room 10.

  170. Oh…dude…I think I have your card figured out. I was like…short, tall, tall, tall, tall, tall…one too many talls in the mix. ♥

  171. It’s hard to find educated people on this subject,
    however, you seem like you know what you’re talking about!

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